Sit yourself right down at the Silver Spur, honey, and have yourself a nice meal. (Pete Shea Photo)

Sit yourself right down at the Silver Spur, honey, and have yourself a nice meal. (Pete Shea Photo)

It’s the most important meal of the day! Don’t mess it up. Here are some of Santa Cruz Weekly readers’ favorite places.html to fill up the tank and get going.

Walnut Avenue Cafe

Walnut Avenue offers a huge array of omelettes filled with all the favorite protein forms like cheese, ham and sour cream, as well as peppers, spinach, mushrooms and you name it. The pancakes here are the kind that breakfast fantasies are made of. Golden-brown and large without being ridiculous, the trio of nine-grain hotcakes can (and I advise trying it) be joined by a pitcher of sensitively made boysenberry sauce, full of berries and not too sweet. The warm, earthy pancakes and the tart sauce enjoy real chemistry. The Huevos Mexicanos—a field of scrambled eggs laced with avocados, cheese and salsa and, of course, black beans—are a terrific variation on the all-star huevos rancheros classic. Don’t miss the egg scrambles either—especially the feta, tomato and basil. (Christina Waters)


For decades I’ve sworn by Zachary’s as the heartland of the über breakfast. Between the endless cups of better-than-decent java, the sensuous jalapeño cornbread and the sinful sourdough pancakes, Zachary’s puts out a superior breakfast product. Recently we renewed our adoration with a post-workout visit to the home of Mike’s Mess. Jack is a devoté of the Chili & Eggs, which always amazes me with its piping hot attitude and its mammoth cumulus of sour cream. He goes in big time for the buried treasure of black bean chili, the glaze of gooey, melted cheese and the undulant expanse of moist, scrambled eggs. I continue to plow into my tart sourdough pancakes—thin and tender, as God intended. And I love the side of eggs, perfectly done over medium, along with the trio of lean bacon partners. Everything you need for life is on this plate. (CW)

Silver Spur

This unpretentious diner with the friendly service is where mid-county goes for a hearty start to the day. On weekends there’s always a line, but Silver Spur thoughtfully offers free mugs of coffee while you wait. The classic breakfast menu is the extensive variety, with a full range of sweet breakfasts (pancakes, French toast made with egg bread, waffles) as well as omelettes, scrambles and some nice house specialties for the vegetarians starring ingredients like potatoes, veggies and cheese. Worth noting: Silver Spur has patty sausage, which is difficult to find around these parts. (Traci Hukill)

Harbor Café

The sunny, protected  courtyard is one reason Eastsiders flock to this breakfast spot near the harbor. The benedicts might be another. In traditional, veggie, seafood and avocado versions, they signal that the kitchen here isn’t messing around. (And, glory be, you can get hash browns here, not just home fries.) Harbor Café also offers some inventive takes on bacon and sausage—omelets can come with carnitas or tri-tip, for example, or veggie patties. It’s a somewhat sophisticated take on breakfast that’s very attuned to local palates. (TH)

Linda’s Seabreeze Café

This tiny, wildly popular Seabright institution is famous for its fresh-baked homemade muffins, a different flavor daily. But that’s giving short shrift to its simple menu of excellently prepared standards like bacon and eggs, tofu scrambles and some tasty omelettes such as the Florentine (spinach, bacon, sour cream and cheese) and the Castroville (artichoke hearts, tomato and cheese). Also, where else can you get an almond waffle? (TH)